Foreign PolicyForeign Policy

Europe’s energy crisis that isn’t

By Adam Tooze

05 Apr 2023 · 7 min read

Editor's Note

American critics chastise Europeans’ rejection of fossil fuels. But in a world of tough choices and uncertainty, the green energy transition still looks like the smartest bet, Foreign Policy argues.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine has led to a reassertion of national security concerns in every facet of Western countries’ policy. The most obvious aspect is military security, with the United States and the Europeans ramping up ammunition production and wrangling over tank deliveries. But as far as Europe is concerned, the even more urgent priority is energy security. As Russia’s natural gas supplies were cut off and prices surged to record levels, European governments have spent more on subsidizing the energy bills of their populations, stockpiling gas, and bailing out bankrupt energy companies than they have either on their militaries or on supporting Ukraine.

The emergency energy programs were short-term expedients. The urgent question now is which direction long-term energy security is to be found.

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